Oncology nurses may personally experience death anxiety through observing the experiences of their patients, which may impede discussions about death-related concerns, according to US study.
Michigan State University researchers interviewed 73 patients newly diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer.
By interacting with patients facing a cancer diagnosis, nurses may find themselves experiencing similar disturbing emotions, such as sadness and feelings of attachment and helplessness.
The authors said oncology nurses needed to “recognise and understand how to cope with their own aversive thoughts and emotions”, adding that “seasoned” nurses could share strategies with “more novice oncology nurses”.
Lead author Rebecca Lehto, assistant professor in the University’s college of nursing, said: “Nurses who are comfortable with listening for and discussing existentially related concerns may be in a better position to promote the patient’s psychological adaptation.”